Our next Beautiful Beasties member feature comes from all the way across the ocean from Australia. One of our favorite Aussie pet photographers- Charlotte Reeves!
Let’s check out Charlotte’s answers to the questions I asked her.
Charlotte Reeves – Charlotte Reeves Photography
Facebook Fan Page: http://www.facebook.com/charlottereevesphotography
Year founded: September 2007
Based in: Brisbane, Queensland, Australia. Serving: Brisbane, Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast, travel available to South East Queensland, Australia-wide by special request.
What camera do you use?
Canon 5D Mark II
What is your favorite color?
What is your favorite beverage?
What is your favorite animal?
Domestic – dogs of course! Wild – Snow Leopard
What is your most prized possession?
My 1950 Rolleicord TLR Camera
How did you get started in pet photography?
I completed a two year Diploma of Photography when I left school in 1999-2000, but at the time I didn’t end up pursuing a career in photography, instead engaging in further study and eventually working as a graphic designer, then later in website design.
In early 2007 I met, fell head over heels in love with, and brought home a 9 week old fawn Great Dane puppy named Kaya. To document the first year of Kaya’s life I decided to start a blog and post images and stories about her life and growing up, told from her perspective. The blog proved to be quite popular and I really enjoyed taking photos of Kaya and her doggy friends, so I finally decided to follow my dream of photography as a profession and specialise in dogs, as no one else in my area was doing it at the time.
What do you like to do when you are not working?
I love spending time outdoors – at the beach, in the bush and in the countryside. I love visiting National Parks and exploring new places, and I’m currently studying a degree in Wildlife Science part time at the University of Queensland. In winter I love to snowboard when I can get to the snow, which is sometimes hard as the closest snowy mountains are about 16 hours drive away! I also enjoy dirt biking, mountain biking, running and bushwalking plus spending time with my partner and our friends.
Do you have any pets? If yes, what kind and what are their names?
My Great Dane is called Luna (seen below), she has quite a following on her blog (link: http://www.greatdanesaustralia.net) and Facebook page (link: http://www.facebook.com/lunathegreatdane). Luna likes nothing more than a visit to the beach with her friends and treats it as a pack that must be kept together at all times, checking up on everyone at regular intervals and often rounding people up who stray behind! At five years old, Luna has a very silly side and at times and acts like a big puppy. She loves her toys and is always up for a game of slow motion chase, which involves you walking around after her pretending to try and get her toy while she prances along thinking she’s very clever.
My first Great Dane, Kaya, will always be with me in spirit, unfortunately we lost her to cancer at just two years old. Anyone who followed her blog will tell you she was a very special girl – beautiful, inquisitive, vain, and very, very clever. She could analyse a situation immediately and knew exactly what was going on, always confident but never dominant. She was friendly to dogs and people alike and I also swear she had a sense of humour! A natural model, she always knew her best side for the camera and was eternally patient with me using her as a test subject for my photographic experimentations. She was my best friend and muse, and I miss her dearly.
I’ve also become the adoptive mum of my partner’s little dog, Archie. He is a one-eyed Jack Russell cross who is Luna’s best buddy.
What has been your most memorable photo shoot thus far?
This would have to be my session with Albert, a 12 year old black Labrador X Mastiff, and his mum Drene. Albert had been diagnosed with Osteosarcoma in his front leg and was predicted to have only a few months to live. We promptly organised a photo session and while poor Albert was quite obviously in pain on the day, hardly putting any weight at all on his massively swollen front leg, he remained in high spirits. We ended up with some beautiful photos from the session of Albert enjoying some time relaxing under the shade of some trees, and having cuddles and scratches with his mum. (You can view the blog post of the session here: http://www.charlottereeves.com.au/blog/2011/03/client-session-albert-the-labrador-x-mastiff/)
Drene wasn’t giving up so easily though, having already lost too many loved ones to his horrible disease. She organised for an alternative cancer treatment for Albert and jumped through hoops to import it into Australia and licence a vet to administer it to Albert. A couple of months later when Drene came to pick up her order, she brought Albert. What a different dog he was! His leg was right back down to almost normal size and he was literally trotting around my yard, investigating everything, bouncy and healthy as could be.
It was amazing to see and just goes to show what lots of love, determination and alternative thinking is capable of achieving!
What has been your most embarrassing moment in a photo shoot thus far?
As most pet photographers will sympathise with, there have been a few inevitable instances of stepping or lying in poo, but the most embarrassing moment so far would have to be falling on my bum from running across a slippery polished wooden floor with socks on. Right in front of the client!
What is is like being a pet photographer in Australia?
The biggest challenge I find in Australia is probably educating people as to what pet photography actually entails, and creating awareness that it even exists in the first place! When you say you’re a pet photographer, people immediately think of cute puppies wearing costumes, sitting in baskets with flowers and a pink background in a studio. I have taken to carrying a portable portfolio around with me so I can show them what kind of shots are possible outdoors in beautiful surroundings using natural light.
Another issue shooting in Australia are the many restrictive laws about where you are and aren’t allowed to take your dog. There are some beautiful locations that I would love to shoot at, but unfortunately dogs are not allowed. Dogs also aren’t permitted on public transport, in shops or at most cafes and restaurants. I would love to shoot in Europe where it’s perfectly natural to have your dog with you in these kinds of places.
What lens is on your camera most often?
Definitely the Canon 24-70mm f2.8 L-series. This is my most versatile lens and is on my camera for about 70% of most sessions.
What new (to you) photographic technique/lens/setting are you wanting to try the most?
I’d love to have a play around with tilt-shift photography and also some off-camera or ring flash.
You have some absolutely gorgeous locations listed on your blog and website. Do you ever feel spoiled by where you get to shoot?
When I’m on a shoot at the beach and the sun is just above the horizon, bathing my subject in gorgeous late afternoon light, yes I do feel a bit spoiled! My home base of Brisbane is positioned in a fantastic location, close to beaches and lots of parks with natural bush and farmland areas just a short drive away. Although it can be rainy at certain times of the year, Queensland typically has many sunny clear days and it’s usually an ideal temperature. There are many other locations I’ve photographed elsewhere in Australia that are also beautiful – Sydney with it’s gorgeous harbour and riverside cliffs, Melbourne’s foreshore area and countryside, Townsville’s calm and picturesque beaches and some stunning country areas in South Australia near Adelaide. I’d love to do a session at the snow though, I envy all the photographers in the USA and their gorgeous snow pictures in winter!
What exposure modes do you use most often?
I shoot in full Manual mode about 99.9% of the time. I like to have exact control over what I am producing – nailing the exposure in-camera means a lot less time editing! I’ve been shooting in manual for a few years now and although it was frustrating and slow to start with, it comes naturally now and I am glad I stuck with it.
What do you find most challenging with your business?
The most challenging thing I find with my business is marketing and promotion. Since pet photography isn’t widely known of in Australia, I spend much of my promotion time educating people and creating awareness about what I do. The first step is to reach the right audience, which often isn’t connected to my online presence and needs to be reached through other means.
I do this by partnering with like-minded but non-competing businesses and cross-promoting our services. Once potential clients have been introduced to my work I find that they often need to be unobtrusively reminded a number of times about my services before they will consider booking a session. I like to keep in contact with them online via email newsletters, Facebook, Twitter and my blog, as well as in the local community via notice boards, wall displays and special events. Often people who book will have been following my work for years and finally decided to take the plunge!
Thank you so much for the interview Charlotte! We look forward to catching up with you on the Beautiful Beasties Network!
Charlotte Reeves is an on-location and studio pet photographer specialising in dogs, based in sunny Queensland, Australia. Blessed by gorgeous weather and stunning natural photo locations, Charlotte loves discovering and telling her client’s stories through beautiful, natural and fun images just begging to be displayed in the home and shared with friends and family. Photography sessions are low pressure and specially designed to bring out the pet’s personality and unique character.
Charlotte loves the outdoors, often spending time in the local bushland walking with her beloved blue Great Dane, Luna. In her spare time she also enjoys horseriding, snowboarding, dirt bike riding and exploring new places.